Easter Post: Believing Without Seeing

I have two sons, and I know them well. When I enter the kitchen, I know exactly who ate the last meal there. One son cleans up everything after he eats, and there is no evidence he has even eaten there. Everything has been washed, wiped and put away.

After a long process of upbringing and correction, my second son now also cleans up after he eats at the table. But he continues to leave something unfinished! He may leave his chair pulled away from the table. He may wash the dishes but leave a dirty pot on the stove.

Yes, I know my sons well. And I have no doubts about who has been in the kitchen before me. I see the identifying signs.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 1 through 10, there is a detail related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we sometimes miss.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Pay special attention to this verse:

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

What did this disciple see that made him believe Jesus had risen? One small detail allowed him to know for sure that Jesus had indeed left the tomb! He saw the face cloth, which had been around Jesus’ head, rolled up by itself, away from the burial cloths.

Jesus' neatness didn’t convince the disciples about His resurrection. How this cloth was folded convinced them.

This face cloth would have been Jesus’ prayer shawl, known as the tallit. Every Jew folds their tallit in their own way. Jesus’ closest disciples would have known the way Jesus folded His tallit because they often saw Him praying. When they saw His tallit in the empty tomb, they knew He had folded it!

We have not had the privilege of walking with Jesus, listening to His sermons, seeing His miracles, sharing meals with Him. We have not yet seen Him. As Jesus said to Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

As believers, we are blessed to have personal relationships with the risen Christ through faith. Everything that is written to us in the Scriptures leads us to this faith. “But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

May God bless us as we grow closer and deeper in our relationships with the Risen Christ. May we know Him as well as His disciples did!

Serving our risen Savior with you,

Igor Kurlianov

unnamedIgor Kurlianov has 25 years of experience in Christian ministry. He has been involved in church ministry as a preacher, deacon, pastor, and missionary. With a Christian mission, he has visited more than 20 countries, gaining extensive experience in intercultural communication. He has assisted local church leaders in developing missionary work.

Igor is fluent in three languages: Russian, English, and Chinese. In 1998, he earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Donetsk Christian University in Ukraine. In 2021, he obtained a master's degree in religious studies from Amur State University in Blagoveshchensk, Russia.

Now he has moved to the US with his family and continues to carry out Christian ministry with Reach A Village. Drawing upon his extensive experience in cross-cultural ministry, he is currently actively involved in creating teaching materials on establishing new churches for missionaries from various countries.

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